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Catherine Ponder's Ponderings: Connie Fillmore Bazzy

Connie Fillmore Bazzy
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A Visit With Dr. Catherine Ponder about Connie Fillmore Bazzy

Connie Fillmore
Connie Fillmore

The first time I ever saw Connie Fillmore Bazzy, she was speaking at a convention, saying all the things I needed and wanted to hear. Furthermore, she looked like a million dollars in a very chic suit, with contemporary hair styling and make up.

A young friend sitting next to me said, "Who is that pretty girl?" I replied, "That pretty girl just happens to be the President of Unity School." My friend gasped. "How could someone so young and attractive head a global organization?" I replied, "She is the great granddaughter of the founders of this organization, so she has the genes for it. She also has impressive educational credentials and Unity experience that would boggle the mind."

Here are some of them: For starters, she grew up at Unity Village, was valedictorian of her graduating class at Lee's Summit High School, attended Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and Pomona College in Claremont, California. There she received a bachelor's degree in psychology and graduated with honors. She later graduated from Unity's ministerial program and received ordination. She then studied business at Rockhurst College and counseling at the University of Missouri, both in Kansas City. Since that time, her accomplishments for Unity School have been almost too numerous to list here.

However, among her crowning achievements was the organizing, planning, and implementing of the Silent Unity Building Project, which resulted in its new much-needed building and the $14 million dollars raised to dedicate it at Unity's Centennial Celebration.

After that convention, I did not have the opportunity to visit privately with Connie until we attended the Unity World Conference in England some time later. She allowed me to relate how I had found Unity — or Unity had found me.

When I was pre-school in the early 1930s, my active little mother was ordered to bed by her doctor. He told my father that mother would never be able to take care of the house and three small children again, because of her health problems. Less than 5 feet tall, she never weighed 100 pounds.

My father was frantic. He worked for a power plant. One day he heard that an electrical engineer was coming to inspect it. My father operated a switch board on which he could pull a lever that could cut off the power simultaneously in two states. His duties at running that plant were varied and many. When the electrical engineer arrived, my father started explaining that switch board to him. Suddenly the engineer said, "Oh I recognize this switch board. I designed it." My father then replied, "In that case I have a few questions for you." And so they gradually got acquainted.

Finally, in my father's distress, he told his visitor about mother's condition and his plight of what to do about three small pre-school age children to care for, plus his work. His visitor seemed unimpressed. Instead, he said, "I have a mother who is a healer in California. I will contact her to pray for your wife's health." He added, "Also there is a group in Kansas City, Missouri that prays for people all over the world with remarkable results."

My father said "But I'm Presbyterian." "That doesn't matter; these people are nondenominational." The engineer then pulled a rolled-up Unity Magazine out of his hip pocket and handed it to my father. "You can either write these people for prayers for your wife or you can telephone them for help. You'll find information about them in this magazine under the name Silent Unity."

I don't know whether my father wrote or called Silent Unity. But I do know that in a few days my mother was up and about again. Soon thereafter she was back to her normal routine. To my knowledge, my mother was never seriously ill again. That happened in the early 1930s, and she lived until 1988, passing on quietly in her sleep at home with no forewarning.

In the intervening years, she helped raise three children, ran the house, worked in her flower and vegetable gardens, and did extensive church and community work. She often visited the convalescent homes of those days, taking hot food and home-grown flowers to shut-ins. And she served as President of our school's PTA off and on for 25 years. During that time she helped to get a hot lunch program started and a gymnasium built.

So much for the prayers of Silent Unity, and so much for the mystical figure who just happened to inspect an electrical plant in Eastern North Carolina in the early 1930s that knew about Unity. My father never saw him again.

Mother became an avid reader of Unity magazine, feeling it had contributed to her healing. In later years she left Unity literature planted around our house, thinking my father needed it. Instead I was the one to finally pick up a piece and became fascinated with its teachings. "The rest is history."

Connie has now served 20 years as leader of Unity School. She recently turned over her duties to Tom Zender, a former corporate and non-profit executive who also happens to be a seasoned Unity Student.

This means that the fourth generation of the founding Fillmore family has now served as President of Unity School. The distinction is that she is the first woman in that family to serve in that special capacity.

(Excerpt from New Thought Magazine - Spring 2004)

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